Would you sue a client? What if he repeatedly disparaged you on the Internet?
San Francisco legal malpractice attorney William Gwire has chosen this path, filing a suit against former client Elliot Blumberg in California Superior Court. Upset with an arbitration result, Blumberg took to the message boards and told the world that Gwire "ruins lives."
The amended lawsuit lists six causes of action, including libel, invasion of privacy, and extortion.
When Elliot Blumberg first contacted William Gwire, he and his family ran Vigilant Investors' Asset Management, an options-trading hedge fund. At first, Gwire chose not to take their case. But after Blumberg begged, he agreed to take on the difficult legal malpractice suit.
Gwire immediately withdrew from the representation when arbitration concluded in 2009.
For the next two years, Blumberg allegedly left statements on internet complaint boards, saying that Gwire:
- has an "incredibly unethical history";
- is "dishonest, delusional and downright scary"; and
- "committed a horrific fraud against me."
This last allegation is what caused William Gwire to take action.
Based solely on the complaint, Blumberg seems to be an odd character. Gwire asserts that he suffers from a personality disorder, which he amusingly footnotes for clarification. Psychopathy, he explains, is a personality disorder. He is not alleging that Blumberg suffers from mental illness.
However, that personality disorder is what caused Blumberg to ruin his own case. He apparently rolled his eyes, snorted, snickered and hummed throughout the arbitration. He refused to listen to Gwire and blamed him for the lack of good evidence.
And then he accused him of fraud.
Before you decide whether William Gwire was right to sue a client, take a look at the complaint. You can find it here with case number CGC11510305.
February 22, 2013 Editor's Note: This post was updated to reflect the causes of action in court filings as of November 2011, when this article was originally published. For further updates on this case, please click on the link above and enter the case number.
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